Shang Wang, assistant professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering, recently received a $1,910,915 Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award (MIRA) from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for his research program “Multi-contrast dynamic optical imaging to advance live developmental biology”. The research program will establish a multi-contrast, high-resolution dynamic imaging platform for advanced studies in developmental biology.
The study of developmental biology is important for improving human health. In biological development, a single cell generates different types of cells that organize into various forms and achieve a range of functions. This process is dynamic and complex, with biophysical, biochemical and biomechanical factors regulating the growth and physiology.
“For further understanding this process, it is imperative to have multi-contrast imaging able to probe and bridge a wide range of biological information,” said Wang. “Such imaging capabilities could open new opportunities to investigate the mechanisms underlying different cell activities that establish tissues with a variety of structures and functions.”
Wang and his team will develop the imaging platform based on optical coherence tomography (OCT). OCT can be viewed as an optical analogue of ultrasound imaging. Instead of using sound, OCT uses light to achieve a micro-scale resolution with a millimeter-level depth for 3D visualizations over time, which represents an important imaging scale for understanding the biological development.
“Building on this imaging scale, an integration of structural, functional, molecular and biomechanical imaging contrasts will enable advanced developmental biology studies that have been difficult or impossible to perform in the past,” Wang said.
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